Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Overview (EXILE)
The United States Attorney’s Office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program (PSN) is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat gun crime that combines local, state and federal law enforcement efforts; community outreach; and public awareness. By working together, we are helping empower law-abiding citizens to rid their neighborhoods of criminals who spread violence and despair and to reclaim their communities for themselves and their children.
This site provides information about the Maryland PSN program, along with information about how you can get involved in helping to reduce gun crime in your community.
The USAO’s PSN program has four primary components: (1) proactive investigation of gangs and violent criminal organizations; (2) coordinated investigation and prosecution of historical violent crimes and firearms violations; (3) coordinated training of law enforcement; and (4) outreach to the community.
1. Proactive Investigation of Gangs and Violent Criminal Organizations
Proactive federal investigations and prosecutions of gangs and violent criminal organizations are the centerpiece of the USAO’s PSN program. These prosecutions involve federal investigations of gangs, drug trafficking organizations, and robbery crews connected to acts of violence. These investigations can take anywhere from 30 days to more than a year and employ the full range of federal investigatory resources, including the use of the federal grand juries, court-authorized wiretaps, electronic surveillance, and financial analysis. Once the investigation is complete, these organizations can then be prosecuted using federal racketeering and conspiracy statutes.
Examples include cases against the Murdaland Mafia Piru Bloods gang, the Trained To Go Gang, the Old York Money Gang, and the Black Guerilla Family in Baltimore City, and multiple MS-13 cases connected to violent crimes in Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Frederick counties. The USAO also vigorously pursues large-scale drug conspiracy cases where the target of the prosecution is an organization connected to past or present acts of violence. By conducting thorough, long-term investigations, these cases seek not only to disrupt and disable active criminal enterprises, but also to hold their members accountable for past acts of violence by charging historical murders and assaults as overt acts of the larger conspiracy.
2. Coordinated investigation and prosecution of historical violent crimes and firearms violations
The second part of the PSN Program involves the coordinated investigation and prosecution of violent crimes and firearms violations. The largest component of this element is the federal prosecution of illegal firearms possession. Under this initiative, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) and local law enforcement officers screen every firearm arrest in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County and forward cases that meet certain criteria for USAO review. Working with our partners in the Baltimore City States Attorney’s Office and the Prince George’s County States Attorney’s Office, the USAO reviews and where appropriate, adopts these cases for federal prosecution. In coordination with the Maryland State Police, the USAO reviews and accepts for prosecution potential firearms cases from any sub-division in Maryland. In considering whether a case should be prosecuted in federal court, the USAO considers the strength of the case, the defendant’s criminal record and the connection of the defendant to acts of violence or other crimes.
Working with local police and federal law enforcement, the USAO also investigates and prosecutes historical murder cases as well as cases involving firearms trafficking, commercial robberies, bank robberies and carjackings.
3. Coordinated Training of Law Enforcement and Outreach to the Community
An important component of the PSN program involves providing training to local law enforcement. Working with police and sheriff’s departments and State’s Attorney’s Offices across Maryland, the USAO regularly provides training to law enforcement agencies on subjects including searches and seizures, authoring search warrants, the use of electronic surveillance, and other relevant topics.
4. Community Outreach
The U.S. Attorney’s Office provides outreach services to the community focusing on crime prevention and awareness consistent with office priorities, such as reentry, internet safety, cyber security, gang recognition, and fraud prevention. Our Reentry Program helps returning citizens and justice-involved individuals connect with service providers. The program also assists in the coordination of local responses to reentry and the reduction of recidivism. The program consists of three major components. First, the development and maintenance of a reentry resource directory for the District - the State of Maryland - broken down by political sub-division. Second, with local partners, the USAO hosts resource fairs around the District where service providers and employers meet with returning citizens to offer a wide variety of services and opportunities. And finally, the USAO has an outreach program involving federal prisons in the area where our reentry specialist provides information on resources and assistance to inmates soon to be released to Maryland.
The USAO’s primary PSN partners include
- Baltimore Police Department
- US Marshal Service
- Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
- Maryland Division of Parole & Probation
- Maryland Division of Corrections
- Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office
- Prince George’s County Police Department
- Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office